GRAHAM Allner led the tributes to Graham Newton – one half of Worcester City’s most-iconic managerial partnership – following his death last month.

Newton, the less-celebrated part of City’s answer to Brian Clough and Peter Taylor, served as legendary gaffer Nobby Clark’s right-hand man during the heyday of the late 1970s when the club topped the highest level of non-league football.

That came after a brief, ill-fated spell in charge five years earlier but Allner, a player for two seasons during that golden era, recalls how the styles of Clark and Newton went hand in glove.

“Newts was a character, you’d probably say he had personality plus and was very popular among the lads,” said Allner, who later enjoyed a trophy-laden 15-year spell in charge of Kidderminster Harriers.

“In so many ways he was a good foil for Nobby. He had a good career at Football League level so knew dressing rooms and was very well regarded throughout the squad.

“Even now when people talk about Newty the lads will impersonate him, relive the little quirks and expressions he had that all managers and coaches do.

“His knowledge was important to us. We had an experienced squad but he knew when to get really serious and when to just encourage and make players feel good about themselves. He was very good at that.

“Nobby’s strength was in getting good players, fitting together the team and letting them play.

“Newty had such a career in the game that he could talk to players, do the coaching and be the one that would get into the finer points.

"He was on the training ground alongside Dave Roberts to relate to the players and if someone needed a chat about their own game, they would invariably go to Newty.”

Newton arrived at Worcester as a player on the back of a decade-long career in the Football League, notably with Walsall and Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic (now AFC Bournemouth) as well as spells in America with Atlanta Chiefs.

Then-City manager Wilf Grant signed Newton on a month-long trial in November 1970 and he stayed for the rest of the season before being made first-team captain for the following campaign.

After finishing his playing career with Stourbridge, he returned to City to succeed Grant in the hotseat during times of financial hardship at the Lane.

His spell in charge lasted just 22 games before being sacked in December 1973 following a 6-1 defeat at Chelmsford City.

Undeterred, Newton came back as reserve boss in 1975 and a year later stepped up to the role of first-team coach under Clark.

Two league titles and a run to the third round proper of the FA Cup followed before departing in 1983 to manage Willenhall Town. He would later take charge of Stourbridge before regularly travelling to coach in the United States.

Newton lived in Wolverhampton but enjoyed turning out for City reunions over the years. He died of a heart attack while in Spain last month.

“Even as he got older he remained a bubbly character,” added Allner.

“I hadn’t seen a great deal of him over the past few years but when I did I would always have a laugh and a joke from the minute I saw him – his face would light up.”